NIU still has shot at title

By Chris Jurmann

It isn’t over yet! As easy as it seems to dismiss the NIU football team’s hopes for a truly magical season, there is plenty left to cheer about this year.

With Miami-Ohio’s win over Bowling Green Tuesday night, all NIU needs is to win its three remaining games and hope for one more Bowling Green loss. Then the MAC West crown is ours.

First is NIU’s schedule, which favors the Huskies to potentially win out. With games against two of the worst teams in the country – Buffalo and Eastern Michigan – and the long-awaited rematch against Toledo – our version of how Bowling Green felt about us, – NIU is primed for an 11-1 finish.

With the media exposure and big-name victories, expect the few bowl committees left without tie-ins to look extremely hard at NIU as a potential team to bring in.

The bowl may not be the Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or even the GMAC Bowl for that matter. But it is a starting point for this team to build on.

Bowling Green happens to be playing one of the tougher schedules left in the MAC to close the season. Not to mention the fact that the games get increasingly difficult each week, only adding to the pressure Bowling Green is already feeling.

First, the Falcons face Kent State. While on paper the game is a mismatch, Kent State hung tight with Miami-Ohio, eventually losing 38-30 on Oct. 25.

Bowling Green then battles Ball State. I know it may not seem like such a difficult game after we blew them out of the water Saturday, but Ball State may be tougher than what they showed in DeKalb. BSU has been respectable at home, claiming a decisive victory over conference power Toledo.

That same Toledo team finishes out Bowling Green’s season with a showdown at Bowling Green. If neither Kent State nor Ball State get the job down, look for BGSU’s biggest rival, Toledo, to chop the Falcons’ conference title hopes down.

As for right now, we need to wait patiently, get ready for our battle with Toledo and hope and pray Bowling Green blows it and slides just like it did last season.

If any of these teams can knock off the Falcons, expect an all-out sprint to the ticket booths for tickets to the MAC Championship Game in DeKalb on Dec. 4.